Bengaluru: To protect children from major childhood diseases measles and rubella, the government on Sunday launched a nationwide vaccination campaign. Under the campaign, children aged between nine months and 15 will be administered the measles-rubella vaccine (MR-VAC).
Speaking after inaugurating the campaign, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste said the government is committed to eradicate measles and rubella in the country.
Minister Kulaste urged parents, caregivers, teachers, community leaders, anganwaadi workers and other frontline health workers to become active part of the campaign. “We have taken this as an achievable target. This shall be taken up in a mission mode and rolled out in partnership with states, NGOs and development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, Lions Club, IPA, IMA, etc. In the nationwide campaign, the Ministry will cover 41 crore children in the age group of nine months to 15 years,’’ Kulaste said.
The campaign will start from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Goa. It will be launched in Goa on February 7.
Following this, the vaccine will be introduced in the Universal Immunisation Progarmme, replacing the currently given two doses of measles vaccine at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age. UNICEF and WHO are providing technical support to the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda said the state governments have prepared a plan to eradicate measles and rubella and the Central Government has also participating in this programme. “The Central Government has released Rs 47352 crore to the Health Department and it is Rs 1200 crore more than the funds released in the previous year,’’ Minister Gowda said.
Minister for Health and Family Welfare K R Ramesh Kumar said ensuring good health for children, youth and others is the responsibility of the government. “All have to respect and appreciate the campaign to protect children from measles and rubella,’’ Minister Ramesh Kumar said.
Dr. Sharanaparakash Rudrappa Patil is the Minister for Medical Education said the campaign against measles and rubella would benefit children from poor families. “The state government has launched many welfare programmes for the benefit of six crore people in the state. I want all the people to avail the benefits from the welfare schemes,’’ Dr Patil said.